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Male and female black swans form long and mostly enduring pair bonds that last for many years. However, if one of the pair dies, the widowed partner will generally find itself a new mate within six months or so.  About one in twenty pairs also divorce – the male and female both survive but form new partnerships with other birds.

Even though pairs show strong social fidelity, a cob cannot always be sure that he is the father of all of the cygnets in his brood.  A raft of recent studies has shown that infidelity is rife among birds, even in species where males and females form lifelong pair bonds. By taking small blood samples from swans as part of the routine capture procedure, we have been able to assess patterns of paternity by analysing their DNA. It turns out that about 15 per cent of all cygnets are not sired by their social ‘father’, but by another cob in the population.

Posted in: Black swans

 

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Did you know?

An adult male swan is called a cob (from Middle English cobbe (leader of a group). An adult female swan is called a pen, and baby swans are called cygnets (from the Latin word cygnus ("swan") and the Old French suffix -et ("little").
2015-05-11T02:20:03+00:00
An adult male swan is called a cob (from Middle English cobbe (leader of a group). An adult female swan is called a pen, and baby swans are called cygnets (from the Latin word cygnus ("swan") and the Old French suffix -et ("little").

The Black Swan is protected under the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974. It is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
2015-05-11T02:23:39+00:00
The Black Swan is protected under the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974. It is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

A colony of Black Swans in Dawlish, Devon has become so well associated with the town that the bird has been the town's emblem for
2015-05-11T02:23:29+00:00
A colony of Black Swans in Dawlish, Devon has become so well associated with the town that the bird has been the town's emblem for

The current global population of black swans is estimated to be up to 500,000 individuals.
2015-05-11T02:23:19+00:00
The current global population of black swans is estimated to be up to 500,000 individuals.

Black swans occur over large parts of Australia, with estimates of their range varying from 1 to 10 million square kilometers.
2015-05-11T02:23:10+00:00
Black swans occur over large parts of Australia, with estimates of their range varying from 1 to 10 million square kilometers.